Considerations for Hotel Owners and Managers: How to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease

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Legionnaire's Disease Prevention: Making a Splash with Safe Water

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Legionella bacteria. It can be associated with hotels and resorts, and may be deadly and costly. Prevention keeps guests and employees healthy — it makes good business sense, too!

Guest and Employee Safety is the First Priority

  • Legionnaires’ disease is deadly for approximately 1 in 10 people who get it.
  • Outbreaks at hotels and resorts may interrupt services, which can diminish the guest experience and lead to considerable financial and reputational costs.
Hotels & resorts are frequent settings for outbreaks

Guidance Available: Start Your Water Management Program Today

The problems that lead to Legionnaires’ disease are preventable through water management programs. A water management program is a multi-step, continuous process designed to

  • Identify areas in a building where Legionella could grow and spread
  • Reduce risk by managing and monitoring the water system
  • Trigger action when risks are identified

Get started by creating a team with the right mix of skills so you can develop the most effective program possible. See steps you can take.

Water management programs can prevent problems that lead to outbreaks
Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings: A Practical Guide to Implementing Industry Standards 13.2

Water Management Programs are Now an Industry Standard for Large Buildings in the United States

CDC has a free toolkit with practical guidance on how to tailor a water management program for your building and needs.

Legionella Can Grow and Spread in Many Areas of Hotels and Resorts

Legionella can make people sick when the bacteria grow in water and spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. Legionella grows best in warm water that is not moving or that does not have enough disinfectant to kill the bacteria.

Legionnaires' disease is on the rise. Arrow pointing upwards with points: 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2018 Rates increased 6-fold since 2000.

Legionnaires' disease rates have increased 9-fold since 2000.

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Cooling Towers – When disinfectant levels are low, cooling tower fans can spray water containing Legionella.

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ShowersLegionella can grow in and spread through showerheads if a building’s water has low disinfectant levels.

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Unoccupied Floors or Rooms – Low occupancy decreases water flow, which can decrease disinfectant levels and increase the risk of Legionella growth.

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Hot Tubs – The warm temperature supports growth of Legionella, which can spread through water jets if hot tubs are not well maintained.

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Water Supply Interruptions – Events that interrupt the delivery of municipal water to a building, such as nearby construction, can allow dirt to enter the system and use up disinfectant.

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Decorative FountainsLegionella can grow in warm areas of a fountain and splashing can spread water containing Legionella.

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